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College Graduate Salaries by Major

Man on a Job InterviewCollege graduate salaries may be something you’ll want to consider when choosing your course of study. Wondering which college majors earn the top average college graduate salaries?

College graduate salaries are influenced by a range of factors – not solely your choice of major.

Other factors that affect college graduate salaries are the industry in which you’re employed, your location and your occupation.

A recent 2013-2014 college salary report released by PayScale shows that many of the highest starting salaries go to engineering and computer science majors.

Petroleum engineers earn the highest starting salary by far, at $103,000. At the bottom of the salary  totem pole are majors that tend to revolve around education, such as Human Development ($35,900), Special Education ($33,800), Social Work ($33,000) and Elementary Education ($32,200).

Having an idea of typical college graduate salaries in your field can clearly be helpful when you’re selecting a career path. It’s also useful information when you’re choosing a major or minor field.

Take a look at the college graduate salaries listed below to get an idea of what to expect when you begin your career. Remember: these are only average college graduate salaries – they don’t represent every first job!

Average New College Graduate Salaries

Discipline or Major

Average Starting Salary

Computer Science




Civil Engineering




Applied Mathematics








Business Administration


International Relations


Political Science




Marketing & Communications










Public Health






Social Work


Obviously, salary alone shouldn’t solely determine what career you choose or what job you take after graduation.

However, knowing the average college graduate salaries for entry-level jobs in your field can tell you what to expect during your job hunt – and when you start negotiating conditions with your new employer.


5 Responses to “College Graduate Salaries by Major”

  1. janvaris jackson Says:

    This is all excellent info. What it fails to mention is the NUMBER of jobs available in each major compared to no. of respective graduates. For example, it is “rare” for Psychology majors to find a job in their field after graduation. Essentially, the market value of a Psychology/Sociology degree is no different than that of a high school graduate. For these majors, the unwritten rule is that one needs (at least0 a master’s degree and often a Ph.D. to actually get a job in their field. I know. I am a Psychology graduate.

  2. Joe Ohler, Jr. Says:

    “…Your happines matters more (than salary).”
    Why yes, it’s splendid to be doing hard labor as an all-purpose sub-contractor for a living despite having a Master’s degree in public administration, a Bachelor’s in political science, and some web development experience. That $10 an hour will be perfect for paying off $50,000+ in student loan debt. Hooray for higher education, hooray!
    (immense sarcasm, *obviously*)

  3. Germ Says:

    What about biology? I don’t see that on the list, but probably they don’t get paid much anyway.

  4. Ronen at University Language Says:

    According to the study, Biology majors have an average $39,100 starting salary.

  5. Alexis Says:

    Overall good article but what about business?

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